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9th March 2009

Mark Davies Lions Tour Diary continues

AS I’ve mentioned before, one of the benefits of being a professional cricketer is that you get the chance to visit some fantastic places around the world, and New Zealand is no different.

Without doubt, the people who live here have to be among the friendliest I’ve ever met. The reception they’ve given us has been excellent, and we’ve been made to feel really at home wherever we’ve gone.

Nowhere has that been more so than in Queenstown – venue for the first Test. As a country lad, I love the outdoors, and this place reminded me a lot of home.

The town is set against a backdrop of the ‘Remarkables’ mountain range, and the views are amazing. It’s also the adventure capital of the world, with all sorts of extreme sports on offer from bungee jumping to skydiving.

When we arrived, we had an afternoon off so a few of the lads and I took the opportunity to go jet-boating.

I’ve never really been into extreme sports before, but I loved the adrenaline rush and this is something I’d like to do more of when I finish playing cricket. Given the chance, I’d like to come back on holiday one year.

I suppose I can’t really write a column without talking about the cricket!

I’m delighted to say that I’ve played my first competitive match for the England Lions. The game was a draw. It would’ve been very difficult to get a result, but I do think we’ve got room for improvement.

On a personal note, I managed to pick up four wickets in the match for 50 runs off a total of 29 overs.

I was pretty happy with my performance, but the fact we had to field for over 100 overs on a couple of days made it hard going to say the least, and it took me a while to stop aching!

We’re back in Christchurch now, preparing for the second Test. The Kiwis have made a few changes for this match and brought in a few players who’ve played international cricket for New Zealand.

It means we’re really going to have to be on top of our game in order to win the final match of this series, but we also have plenty of quality in our side and I reckon we’re going to come out on top.

I can’t finish without talking about my Durham team-mate Liam Plunkett.  We’ve been room-mates throughout this tour and he’s been a great help to me.

It can be a bit lonely being away from home for so long and I have really missed my young son, Oliver, but thanks to Liam I’m really enjoying the chance to play for the England Lions and hope it can lead to other tours in the future.